Sample Jewish Food At New Market
For a slice of old Kolkata and to stock up on one-of-a-kind kitchen provisions, head to the Gothic-style New Market which was built in 1874 for the British haut monde. It’s a fascinating place full of shops selling virtually everything from delicate lace and silver to the best steak cuts and exotic vegetables. You must pick up a Jewish cheese samosa at the iconic 1902 bakery, Nahoum and Sons established by Iraqi-Jew Nahoum Israel who came to Kolkata from Baghdad. Other popular items here are the brownies and the freshly-baked biscuits. The garlic bread here is to die for! And it would be criminal not to pair that with the amazing smoked Bandel cheese and Kalimpong cheddar from J. Johnsons store, just a two-minute walk from here. In adjoining Free School Street, you can buy Hungarian sausages from Kalman, a cold storage established by a Hungarian trapeze artist before World War II.
Take A Walk Around Chinatown
The first Chinese are said to have settles down in Kolkata in the late 18th century. There are two areas that where the Chinese community have settled - Chinatown in the Tiretta Bazar area and the Tangra area. The Haka community were among the first ones to arrive and were later joined by the Cantonese, Hupey and others. You can take one of the several guided walks aorund old Chinatown (Tiretta). Or meander on your own. Start with the early morning breakfast in Chhatawala Gully, take a look at the many atmospheric Chinese temples in the area, stock up on some dried plums and shiitake at the provision stores here. Or get a handmade shoe from Chinese shoemakers (though very few are left now).
Check Out Bow Barracks
Located close to The Statesman building in Central Kolkata is Bow Barracks, a former garrison mess for the American soldiers posted in India during World War I. It is now home to the dwindling community of Anglo Indians in Kolkata. Once a thriving colony of Anglo Indians, the red-bricked and green-windowed buildings of Bow Barracks is holding onto its identity and old-world charm in a fast-changing city. The Christmas celebrations in Bow Barracks is not to be missed if you are in town during Christmas.
Visit The Only Boat Museum In India
The museum located in The Institute of Cultural Research in Ambedkar Bhavan. It displays 46 scaled models of various kinds of indigenous boats. Each boat is unique and made for a particular purpose. Check out the dholai and khorokishti which are cargo boats. The dholai is mostly seen in the Sunderban region, and was initially used to carry wood. It now also carries bricks, tiles, etc. The khorokishti, which carries hay, has a wide flat bottom. Paukhia, another type of cargo boat, is meant to navigate shallow creeks. There are many more of Bengal's boats on display here.
Spend An Afternoon At The Lakes
Take a walk around the Lakes (Rabindra Sorobor in south Kolkata). Located in the heart of south Kolkata, this is a multifunctional area with a stage for concerts, swimming pools and clubs, a stadium, and paths around the water bodies.
Hop On A Tram, Or Double-Decker Bus
Kolkata has is the oldest operating electric tram in Asia, running since 1902 and the only tram network operating in India. Trams have been rumbling through the streets of Kolkata for over 140 years now! Horse-drawn trams were introduced in Kolkata in 1873 and electric locomotive trams begun running from 1882. Trams operate throughout the city on different routes. It is highly recommended that you hop on one that takes you to North Kolkata traversing the streets lined with gorgeous old houses and buildings. You can get up on one from the depot at Esplanade. Or take a tram that will go through the vast green stretch of the Maidan.
Or opt for a ride on a double decker bus. These are generally brought out in the winters and organised every weekend by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDCL). The three and a half hour trip on an open-air upper deck gives a whole new POV of the city.